The Big Picture
Despite throwing its fair share of punches throughout the night, OKC dropped the second match of its four-game homestand to the Nets, 120-96. The Thunder had its chances in the game including in the fourth quarter when the team shaved a 20-point deficit down to just 10 points. However, a 3-point barrage from Patty Mills and timely trips to the free throw line for Brooklyn kept this game out of reach for OKC.
Moments from the 48
Strong Start for Lu It was a moment of déjà vu for Thunder fans in the building as the team opened the game on Sunday. Lu Dort, fresh off his game-winning steal and score against the Kings on Friday, snatched an errant pass from James Harden and slammed home a dunk on the other end of the floor for the Thunder’s first bucket of the game. It was just the beginning for Dort who racked up a season-high 11 points in the first frame and finished the night with a total of 20 points. The performance marked the third consecutive game where Dort has scored 20 or more points.
“He has been aggressive on the drives, he's done a nice job playing in the drive and kick game when the ball gets sprayed to him, reading the close outs and either hitting the paint or shooting the three,” said Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault. “We need him to be aggressive.”
Wiggins NBA Debut Thunder two-way rookie Aaron Wiggins had yet to see NBA action before Sunday’s matchup but had been cautioned throughout the season by the coaching staff to stay ready for the chance that his number may be called. With four minutes left in the first frame on Sunday, his number was called.
It wasn’t until the second quarter that the former Maryland Terrapin logged his first NBA minutes. In the first play of the frame, Wiggins used his 6-foot-11 wingspan to snatch a steal from James Johnson and finished the play on the other end with a corner 3-pointer.
“It felt great. I was really excited, really eager to step out onto the court,” Wiggins said. “With the past couple games having watched the Thunder and been here, I was just really excited to go out there and compete with the guys. It was great. I had fun.”
Nets Respond to Thunder Runs OKC kept the game close for a large portion of the first half. Behind a combined 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field by Lu Dort and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, the Thunder only trailed by five points after the first frame. In the second, OKC not only closed the gap entirely but even took a brief four-point lead.
Brooklyn responded with a 20-4 run of its own headlined by Patty Mills who dropped 12 points in the second frame on a 4-of-5 clip from behind the arc to help give Brooklyn a 13-point cushion going into halftime.
Once again, after falling behind by as many as 20, the Thunder rallied back in the fourth frame thanks to a 12-2 run by OKC’s second unit. Just as the Thunder’s momentum looked to get the game to single digits, Brooklyn once again extended the lead with a 10-2 run capped off by a pair of back-to-back 3-pointers by Patty Mills with three minutes remaining.
“It's just one of those nights. This team's been so good at competing and responding, and we just couldn't get the fire lit tonight,” said Daigneault. “We can learn from them. But we have a quick turnaround here, and obviously need to be better [on Monday.]”
The Last Word
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander on the takeaways from the night…“Obviously, we didn't get enough stops tonight. So we'll watch film, coaches will watch film, figure out what it was and pinpoint it and try to get better on it. Thankfully, we have another opportunity tomorrow night to try to try to fix and get better.”
OKC wraps up a back-to-back with a matchup against the Miami Heat on Monday. From there, the team will enjoy a day off before finishing its four-game homestand with the Houston Rockets on Wednesday.